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Zespri cracks down on grower who allegedly distributed SunGold to China

One New Zealand kiwifruit grower has been found to have allegedly distributed Zespri's SunGold and Gold9 varieties to Chinese growers in breach of the company's plant variety rights.

Action had been taken against the Zespri grower and shareholder, Zespri chief operating officer Simon Limmer said at the company's annual meeting in Tauranga.

"We have cancelled their licence and have refused their crop this year and we have actually required them to cut the vines off," Limmer said.

There was potential for Zespri to take a civil case against the grower and it was more than likely the company would do this. Zespri was working its way through the legal process, Limmer said. "This is a significant breach of IP (intellectual property) and we are taking that pretty seriously."

The kiwifruit company had also identified the sites in China where the varieties had been planted and had been able to track where the products had gone.

"It's crossed four different provinces, there are a number of different sites that we are looking at."

Enforcing intellectual property (IP) laws was a challenge in China, and Zespri was working closely with Chinese authorities who had been very helpful, he said.

"The track record for enforcing IP in China is very poor, and there aren't any precedents in the horticulture sector for this type of case, but we are pleased and confident with the response we have had from the Chinese officials."

Read more at stuff.co.nz

Publication date: 8/25/2017


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